Media Releases → 2022


Labor begins budget repair with $22 billion in spending reductions and reprioritisations

Minister for Finance
Minister for the Public Service
Minister for Women

Date: Tuesday, 25 October 2022

The Albanese Labor Government’s first budget will deliver $22 billion in spending reductions and reprioritisations, beginning the hard task of budget repair and reversing the damage done by the former government over the last decade. 

Before the election we undertook to go responsibly through the budget line-by-line and that is exactly what we have done over our first five months in office. 

The Government’s Spending Audit identified spending reductions, waste and re-prioritisations which repair the budget, improve the quality of spending and make room for new priorities. 

The former government doubled the debt before the pandemic emerged, left office with a trillion dollars in debt and deficits for as far as the eye can see. 

They also used taxpayers’ money to cynically buy votes before elections by politicising grants funds and used the budget to land political deals with the Nationals in the Coalition Party Room.

That approach to spending ends in Labor’s first budget.

The budget contains $22 billion of spending redirections and reprioritisations, including:

  • $6.5 billion from re-profiling of infrastructure projects to better align the investment with construction market conditions
  • $3.6 billion from reducing spending on external labour, advertising, travel and legal expenses.
  • $1.7 billion from redirecting funding from the Regional Accelerator Program
  • $1.7 billion from responsible investments in the National Water Grid Fund, including not proceeding with Hells Gates Dam and deferring funding for projects until business cases are completed and viable pathways to delivery are determined and assessed
  • $1.4 billion from partially reversing the Energy Security and Regional Development Plan
  • $920 million from the Community Development Grants Program – a known slush fund from the former Liberal/National Government that was highlighted as having significant questions by the National Audit Office
  • $671 million from the Urban Congestion Fund – which includes Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg’s favoured car park rorts scheme
  • $304 million from uncommitted funding from the Modern Manufacturing Initiative and the Manufacturing Modernisation Fund (Round 3)
  • $252 million from the Building Better Regions Fund – the National Party’s slush fund to boost its re-election prospects
  • $198 million from uncommitted funding from the Entrepreneurs Program
  • $144 million from ending the 10 per cent upfront university fee discount
  • $50 million from Round 7 of the Safer Communities Fund
  • $16 million from not proceeding with funding for the Australian Future Leaders Program

The Albanese Government is bringing back responsible budget management into government decision making. 

We take the job of budget repair seriously and these budget improvements are a first step to repairing the budget following a decade of damage done by the Coalition.


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